Ten days before NFT.NYC began last Monday in New York, I interviewed the conference’s founder, Jodee Rich, about how the crypto market’s collapse would impact this year’s gathering. It seemed like an obvious topic of discussion: $400 billion in cryptocurrencies’ market value had just vanished in a matter of weeks; heavyweights like Coinbase had announced they were laying off over 1,000 employees; and the threat of recession loomed over the entire economy. The last NFT.NYC was only in November, but to me, that event already felt like ancient history.
I asked Rich over Zoom how the recent crises had factored into his conference planning and what he expected speakers to be talking about.
Rich was silent, the vibe on the call suddenly and palpably uncomfortable. The silence stretched on for seven seconds.
“What do you mean?” He sounded so confused, I almost doubted myself.
“I mean…the market had a huge crash.” More silence.
“Which market?” he asked.
“The crypto market,” I answered. “I think a lot of people are hurting.”
“But we’re not a crypto conference.” As Rich saw it, this was a week dedicated strictly to non-fungible tokens, whose long-term value is wholly unrelated to the crypto market’s volatile ups and downs. NFT.NYC was still a place where people could celebrate NFT technology’s future without worrying about “what the price of bitcoin or ethereum is,” Rich said.
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